Transforming Roughcast Walls to Limewash Charm: A DIY Guide

Transforming Roughcast Walls to Limewash Charm: A DIY Guide

Ever since we moved into our new Apartment, those roughcast walls, especially in our dining nook, have been a constant eyesore for me. Every day, that wormy texture plaster seemed to drain the life out of the space. No matter how much I styled the rooms, as long as those walls remained, all felt a bit cheap.

I longed for the subtle charm of limewash walls, but everywhere I looked, the advice was the same: remove the roughcast. Yet, with a child in the house, the thought of creating such a dusty mess was daunting. So, I mulled it over, trying to find a solution that wouldn’t require us to move out or break the bank.

The Limewash Journey Begins

Determined to find a solution, I bought a small bag of "lime" and began experimenting to see how it would stick to the painted wall. Through trial and error, I discovered the magic formula: thin layers, mixed with pigments, applied with care. Encouraged by the results, I invested in a larger sack and set to work filling thoseweird holes, layer by layer.

DIY Limewash Recipe

To start your limewash project, you’ll need:

  • Lime plaster or Repair and Surface Filler (I bought Modulan 301)
  • Water
  • Pigment (wet or dry)
  • Roller
  • Squeegee
  • Paintbrush
  • Painter's tape
  • Drop cloths

Step 1

Preparation: Begin by preparing your walls. Its not the easiest thing to clean a roughcast wall but I would suggest to use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and loose particles. Lay down drop cloths and use painter's tape to protect areas you don’t want to limewash. 

Mix the lime/plaster with a bit more water then suggested on the package to get a creamy thick paint consistency.

Fill and Smooth: Apply it with a roller to the wall and remove the excess using a squeegee. This also pushes the putty more into the holes. Repeat two or three times and allow each layer a full day to dry. 

Tipp: To correct small imperfections you can either use a big wet sponge before it dries or a 80-120 grid sanding paper when it is already dry.

    Pigment: If you want to add color to your limewash, it’s best to mix dry pigment with the dry lime before adding water. This ensures an even distribution of color. Liquid pigments can be added anytime.

    Mix the Lime Wash: In a large bucket or bowl, mix 1 part lime to 4 parts water. Stir thoroughly until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency (comparable to buttermilk)

    Apply the Lime Wash using a big paintbrush in a criss cross movement. 

    Drying: Allow each layer to dry completely, ideally overnight. Limewash looks darker when wet, so don’t be alarmed. It lightens significantly as it dries. Is the resul to light you can add more pigments to the second layer. 

    Additional Layers: Apply additional layers as needed. In my experience, three layers achieved the desired look. Be sure to let each layer dry fully before adding the next.

    Lessons Learned and Final Tips

    After three layers, I finally achieved the look I’d been dreaming of! However, I made the rookie mistake of not finishing each layer on the entire wall at once. Impatience got the best of me, and I attempted to speed up the process by applying the lime with a putty knife, resulting in unsightly bubbles which had to be removed and start over in thes area. Lesson learned: patience is key.

    Transforming roughcast into limewash walls is not only possible but also incredibly rewarding. The whole process takes a few days but it is totally worth it! With a little patience and the right technique, you can turn any unsightly wall into a beautifully imperfect feature. Happy limewashing!

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